Surprise Subscription Boxes for Mommy and Baby

If you haven’t heard about the latest craze (and/or you remember the CD and video of the month clubs of yore), monthly subscription services are back! Online sites are now offering everything from beauty boxes and shoes to gourmet tasting packages and t-shirts– all shipped right to your door every month full of fun surprises. But, of course, it’s the cool mommy and baby stuff we’re interested in for this blog and there are lots of those to choose from in that category too! Here are your options:

Citrus Lane – I believe this was the first monthly box club to launch in the mother/baby category and they’ve grown quickly for good reason. Featuring 1 or 2 full size products per box, sample size products, coupons/gift cards and cute monthly themes like Bed and Bathtime Fun or Fun in the Sun, Citrus Lane is perfect for moms with newborns or children up to 3 years old. In past boxes I received things like: an iPlay Sun Protection Hat (with SPF 50+), an Itzy Ritzy Snack Happened reusable snack bag, Ella’s Kitchen food pouches, Green Sprouts Stacking Duck Set for the bath, a full size Seventh Generation Natural Hand Wash, and a Juice Beauty Antioxidant Serum Deluxe Sample. They also have a special stand alone Pampered Pregnancy box and a Deluxe Baby Shower box which are both perfect to give as gifts. You get one box a month and Citrus Lane offers a few different subscription options:

  • pay as you go – $25/month
  • $75 for 3 month membership
  • $125 for 6 month membership (1 month free!)
  • $250 for 12 month membership (2 months free!)
  • $65 for the Pampered Pregnancy box (one box only)
  • $35 for the Deluxe Shower box (one box only)

Bluum – UPDATE: Bluum has changed their pricing, it is now $24.95/month and features more full size items in larger boxes. They also now have boxes for children up to 36 months. Bluum still focuses on items for both mommy and baby.

This is the least expensive option, so it’s great if you’re feeling unsure about the whole subscription club thing, commitment, money in general, etc. It is also the smallest box, about 6×4 inches, but you’re still getting a lot for your money. Bluum boxes feature tons of sample size products for mommy and babies 0-12 months – and if you try something and love it, it’s easy to find information on purchasing the full size versions. In past boxes I received things like: Adagio Pai Mu Tan Tea, Weleda Almond Soothing Facial Lotion, So Easy Portion Storage Bags and PINXAV Diaper Rash Ointment. Plus Bluum places a high priority on organic and natural products – bonus! You have 3 subscription options with Bluum which are:

  • pay as you go – $11/month
  • $33 for 3 month membership
  • $60 for 6 month membership

PetiteBox – UPDATE: PetiteBox is temporarily suspending subscriptions. Not known when they’ll resume business.

This company just launched, their first boxes went out in June. Unlike the other companies mentioned, PetiteBox will begin catering to you while you’re still pregnant and then, based on your due date, will change over to baby-related products when your little one is born up to 12 months old. The subscription ends automatically at baby’s first birthday. The PetiteBox representative I spoke with at the Big City Moms Baby Shower said that PetiteBox is striving to be a more luxurious, higher end alternative (which is evident just from the gorgeous ribbon trimmed boxes they’ve got – definitely saving those to reuse somehow).

  • pay as you go – $25/month

TeetheMe– UPDATE: TeetheMe stopped service in October 2012.

Similar to Citrus Lane, TeetheMe is for moms with newborns to kids up to 3 years old. However, TeetheMe is also a full-out community too – they want members to write rate and write reviews for the items they received, share pictures and milestones of their little ones, and find a one stop destination for blogs and trends on the site. The Little Teethers Community for Moms just launched with Facebook and Twitter integration and it looks promising. But going back to the boxes, every month TeetheMe sends you 4 to 5 products. In my past box I received: a Green Sprouts Plate Set, Earth Mama Angel Baby Calm & Clean Hand to Toe Wash and Bottom Balm samples, and NurturMe dehydrated baby food pouches. Their subscription options include free boxes for longer commitments:

  • pay as you go – $24/month
  • $72 for 3 month membership
  • $120 for 6 month membership (1 month free!)
  • $240 for 1 year membership (2 months free!)

Stork Stack – Stork Stack sends out 5 products a month customized for you and baby and can start as early as your 3rd Trimester of pregnancy and last up until your child’s 3rd birthday. As with the other companies, they promise mom-tested (and loved) products tailored to you (click here for an example of one of their past boxes/Stacks). They also offer a never changing Shower Stack to use as a baby shower gift – you can also see a picture of that box using the link above. But what makes Stork Stack special is that they give back to philanthropic organizations to “deliver Stacks of love to families in need.” Stock Stack is currently partnering with Operation Showers of Appreciation (baby showers of support for separated military families) and Just by being a member you’re helping out those in need, but depending on the membership option you choose, you can also give a little more directly too:

  • pay as you go – $28/month
  • $84 for 3 months + one donated to a family in need
  • $168 for 6 months + 2 donated to families in need
  • $336 for annual membership + 3 donated to families in need
  • $40 Shower Stack (one box only)

Honorable mention to these other monthly subscription sites:

  • Spark Box – age appropriate toy rental for ages 0-4
  • Wittlebee – age specific clothing for sizes newborn to 5T
  • Kiwi Crate – crafty boxes for ages 3-7
  • BabbaCo – themed boxes containing projects, activities & books for ages 3-6
  • Little Passports – global exploration kits for ages 5-10
  • Green Kid Crafts – 3 or more planet-friendly crafts monthly for ages 3-8
  • MommeBox – seasonal products & services for moms
  • The Little Book Club – 3 or more age appropriate books monthly for ages 0-6
  • The Happy Trunk – themed crafty boxes in 2 tiers: ages 3-7 and ages 7-11
  • Parents TLC – baby, kiddo, mommy & me and even pet boxes all on one site
  • ZooBean – book subscription boxes
  • M is for Monster – weekly themes with 2 to 3 projects for each theme

And one last thing to add (hint to future entrepreneurs): Where are the Daddy boxes?!!

Big City Moms’ Biggest Baby Shower – Review and Gift Bag Show & Tell

I attended the 2012 Biggest Baby Shower Ever in New York City hosted by Big City Moms a few days ago and the swag I brought home was unbelievable (see pictures below). In fact, the things I’d picked up just from walking around the vendor booths were already digging into my arms after 2 hours (not the best decision making there but I couldn’t help myself!) so I was feeling pretty nervous as I waited in line to get my official gift bag (not visible from the line). But in a twist of fate, they rolled out a Peg Perego stroller with the gift bag balanced on top of it!!! (which I believe was my shower gift for visiting 40 vendors – they handed out Bingo style cards when you entered – and attending a seminar). And, as you can see this was a literal lifesaver (since I was on my own to get all this stuff home – my personal handbag isn’t even on the stroller in this picture), not to mention AMAZING!

I was a little uncertain about a few things before going to this event:

  1. The ticket price was pretty hefty: $100 for the Super Pass ($125 if bought after 4/1) – was it going to be worth it? As a comparison, the lowest price tickets were $60 for basic entry with no gift bag, which is still substantial.
  2. I had just gone to the MommyBites Summit the previous week. Were all the vendors (and goodies) going to be pretty much the same?

But it turns out I shouldn’t have worried: the ticket price paid for itself instantly since all attendees were given a Mombo Taggies pillow (retail $49.99) and all Super Pass holders were guaranteed a new Britax baby carrier (retail $139.99). Plus the Peg Perego stroller? Um, retail $399.99!!! So yeah, I think I can say, without even opening the gift bags, this event was worth the ticket price.

Second, I visited almost every booth and definitely less than a quarter of the vendors were repeats. Even most of the food vendors were different! And, as you’ll see for yourself below, there surprisingly weren’t even many repeat gifts between the two event’s gift bags (except for Mama Mio Skincare products, which I was totally fine with having more of!!).

So, I have to break this down into the actual event gift bag (which was bigger than a Moses basket for a baby – In fact, if I could find a way to safely convert it into a Moses basket, I almost would) and the gift bag I created just by walking around the event and/or buying products at special Biggest Baby Shower prices. Let’s start with the contents of the official Biggest Baby Shower Ever gift bag pictured below (this was all inside the black tote with pink writing if you’re looking at the picture at the top of this post).

I’m going to try to make this list as organized as possible since it was near impossible to get everything facing forward without blocking the view of something else. Here’s what was inside:

  • The Huge Gifts – Comfort & Harmony Deluxe Mombo nursing pillow & Infant Positioner, Britax organic baby carrier, Peg Perego Pliko Four stroller in denim (I know some other moms got diaper pails instead and maybe there were other shower gifts rotating as well).
  • Bottles – 6 full-size baby bottles from MAM (anti-colic), Evenflo (Bebek), Tommee Tippee, Similac (Simply Smart), Lansinoh (Momma) and a Playtex drop-ins premium gift set. As well as an insulated straw cup from Munchkin ( 12m+) and a Enfamil newborn formula sample set with D-Vi-Sol.
  • Clothing & Accessories -Moby knot hat, Baby K’Tan hat, Gerber bib, 7 A.M. Enfant 0-6m baby booties, Maclaren Travel Kit for baby (lavender scented), Sun Safety Bands courtesy of KSpin Designs, Eco Store Baby Nappy Balm, Boogie Wipes sample.
  • Home & Bath – Safety 1st Essentials Childproofing Kit, Squiggles – A Drawing Book courtesy of J&R jr., Episencial Sweet Dreams bubble bath, Dapple baby bottle and dish liquid, Clean Well antibacterial hand & face wipes, Think King Jumbo Swirly Hook (for strollers), M.A.Z.E cord blood laboratories water bottle, Q-tips (full-size), OXO Tot bottle cleaning kit, Oopsy Daisy playing cards, Little Pim foreign language DVD, Pantone Colors children’s book.
  • Just For Mom – Boob Tube and Tummy Rub samples from Mama Mio Skincare, Simplisse sample pack (nursing pads, nipple cream, breast milk storage bags), Bio-Oil, Palmer’s Tummy Butter, Destination Maternity Edamame Spa coupons, Premama vitamin drink mix sample, Fit Pregnancy magazine.
  • Food – Belvita breakfast bar, Kind Plus bar, Pretzel Crisps, Peeled Snacks, Sensible Portions Apple Straws, Godiva Gems, Little Ducks Organics Tiny Fruit, and baby food pouches from Organic Mash-ups, Ella’s Kitchen and Happy Baby.

And that’s not all, folks! (haha). Here’s the great stuff I was given (pictured above) by just stopping at all the vendors’ booths and entering their their giveaways or joining their mailing lists:

  • Free Samples – pacifier wipes and laundry detergent from Dapple, Eco Store laundry liquid, healing balm and hand soap from The Honest Co., Colief infant drops for colic, Camilia homeopathic teething aid, BabyGanics lip & face balm, Innobaby small baby food storage container, The Bump stroller ID tag (brilliant!), Tommee Tippee spill-proof First Sips Cup (4m+), retractable measuring tapes from both Project Nursery and from Ergo Baby, a baby food pouches from Happy Tot and Plum Organics.
  • Gift Bag from the booth featuring: a small parts tester, Crayola My First Washable Markers, Cloud B Mimicking Monkey, Ugly Doll small stuffed toy, BKids Go With Me soft cell phone toy (3m+).
  • Bought at a Discounted Event Price – Lucky Legs from Mama Mio Skincare (they gave me a larger sample of O-Mega Body Buff with purchase), WeanGreen glass baby food containers in green, BuggyLove organic stroller cleaning kit.
  • Plus LOTS of Coupons

There were food vendors sampling juice cocktails, baby burgers, cake pops for your baby shower, frozen yogurt and baby food if you wanted to try some out yourself. There were stroller and diaper pail demos, lots of photography studios, gorgeous sample nursery set-ups and tons of great speakers (Jessica Alba, Tia Mowry, Dr. Bob Sears,  Melissa Joan Hart and many more). Everyone was really excited to be there and the good mood was contagious. I had so much fun and I LOVED all the goodies I got (and I think 99% of them I’ll actually use too!). The Big City Moms Biggest Baby Shower Ever is an absolute must for any brand new or expecting parents.

The Truth About Strollers – Smart Questions to Think About

Let’s get right down to it. Here are some useful things the sales people probably won’t ask you to think about when you’re looking to buy your first stroller:

  1. Will you be taking the subway/train regularly with your stroller?  If so, look for a stroller with 3 wheels instead of 4 since they’ll be less wide and take up less room. Also look for a stroller that you can easily fold 1 handed and that’s light/compact enough for you to carry with 1 hand – especially if you’re in NYC, there are NO elevators in most subway stops (found that out the hard way). My favorite and the stroller we ended up with? The popular for a very good reason Baby Jogger City Mini (pictured).
  2. Some strollers have flat, bassinet-like infant attachments, like the Bugaboo Cameleon (pictured), or the strollers can be modified to be used with an infant car seat, like most Graco travel systems. But my husband and I preferred to trade off strapping our baby to us in a wrap or carrier, so we never had any use for a cradle-type stroller design. Our daughter was always happy as long as she was snuggled up close and in the action and since she was a small baby, we carried her for at least 6 months, probably more (pregnant brain memory lapse). But depending on the size/weight of your baby and their temperament, any back problems you might have, personal preferences, etc., this might not be the same for you. If you think you want to try wrapping though, see if you can hold off on the stroller at least until baby is old enough to sit up on their own. (BTW – More on wraps & carriers coming soon in a new post!).
  3. Also, before you spend $1000 on an admittedly awesome stroller (like the Stokke Xplory pictured), consider how long you’ll use it compared to the price. For example: my daughter is just about to turn 2 and we’ve used our stroller about 10-20 times at most. We go on walks just about every day and have rigorously practiced hand-holding so ever since she’s learned to use her legs, walking is usually her preferred method of travel. We still bring out the stroller though if we’re going to be in a really crowded area or if we plan on walking around the city all day long – so definitely still useful to have a stroller, but I would have had serious buyers remorse if I’d gotten some of the other models I looked at.
    However, I often see people pushing their 4 year olds around in strollers and although I don’t see that happening for us, we’re not there yet, so who knows!? If that’s the case though, and the weight limit on the stroller is high enough (and the straps adjust in case your child is very short or tall), it can definitely be worth the money (especially if you’re planning on using the stroller for multiple children) – I think it really just depends on the child and the parents. Just something to think about.
  4. I mentioned before that we preferred to wear our daughter with wraps and carriers but the one exception was when it was cold and rainy or snowing. Of course you prefer to not go out in bad weather, but sometimes it’s necessary and baby can’t be home alone so they have to come to. I still haven’t found an acceptable baby ski mask (joke), so although you can bundle baby up pretty well from neck to toes and stick a nice warm hat on, there are days when I’ve have my face wrapped up in a scarf so I certainly wouldn’t want baby’s face exposed either, even for a few minutes. In these cases, a rain cover over the top of your stroller acts nicely as both an umbrella and wind blocker. It’s also a better way to bundle up our little toddler – even though she’d prefer to walk, mommy’d prefer she stay warm. So if you live where there’s snow or a cold wind chill, make sure the stroller you decide to get has a removable rain cover or that generic covers (like the Jolly Jumper Weathershield pictured) will fit your stroller.
  5. Two words: cup holder. Make sure your stroller at least has the option for you to get an attachment later. I found it essential (and if it’s large enough or will adjust to fit baby’s bottle/sippy cup, even better!).


Do you have any other slightly uncommon stroller suggestions? I’d love to hear them!

Ainar – Make This Middle Eastern Tea to Celebrate Your New Baby

I found this info and recipe while looking through the Penzeys Spices catalog. I’m copying it here directly – never heard of this and I love it!!

Sasha writes, “Introducing Ainar, the tea brewed especially for baby mamas and the guests who stop in to dote on their pretty newborns. In case you didn’t know, mamas need lots of things after having a baby: rest, love, good, warm food. And this tea. The cool thing about Ainar is the treat at the bottom of the cup. Nuts. After cooking a bunch of warming, fragrant spices like cinnamon, caraway, anise and nutmeg in a large pot of water, the hot tea is splashed over assorted nuts and as much sugar as you can stand. Walnuts, almonds and pine nuts are the most common. This is a Middle Eastern tea to celebrate the birth of a new baby. The spices are believed to help the mother heal as well as bring good luck to the new family.”

  • 1 tsp caraway seeds
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 tb anise seed
  • pinch ground nutmeg (1/4 tsp or so)
  • 6 cups water
  • Garnish (to taste)
  • 1/2 – 1 cup total nuts (pine nuts, walnuts, slivered almonds)
  • 1/4 – 1 cup sugar

In a saucepan, add the spices to the water (use a tea ball or cheesecloth if desired) and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 15 minutes. You can also simmer longer for stronger flavor. Pour through a spaghetti strainer if you did not use a tea ball. Serve in teacups over mixed nuts and add sugar to taste.

Prep time: 5 minutes

Cooking time: 15-30 minutes

Serves 4-6

The Baby “Essentials” You DON’T Need

As a first time mom, I did nothing but research for about 7 months. I was obsessed. I didn’t want to waste money on things that weren’t necessary, but I definitely wanted to be prepared for any and all circumstance that might arise. What I learned by the time my child was 1 though, is that the climate where you live, the time of year your baby is born, the size of your house, the temperament of your child – these are all things that effect what baby products you need.

For example, a winter baby in the Northeast needs some big, warm footed onesie suits (zip-up not buttons!!) to go over their clothes and thicker woolen hats. A summer baby in California needs a wide brimmed hat preferably with UV protection and sunshades for the back windows in your car, maybe even some baby sunglasses. Likewise, someone in a small apartment with paper walls may not need a baby monitor, but someone in a large, 2 floor house might find it a necessity.

As for temperament, my firstborn was what our pediatrician called “a happy spitter.” She wasn’t bothered by it at all, but she spit up so much that we couldn’t have enough burp cloths (I think our final count was around 20). Other families might just need 2 or 3. Last, you can’t know in advance how fast your child will grow. They all grow out of clothes quickly, but my daughter was wearing 9 month clothes on her first birthday and my sister’s son was in 9 month outfits by the time he was 4 months old! That can make a lot of seasonably appropriate clothing unusable.

So, remember that there is no one size fits all checklist. And it’s impossible to be completely prepared in advance (sorry). But you can start with the absolute basics and add from there as needed. Here are some reputable sites with basic baby essential lists:

The Bump ***** ***** Parents ***** WebMD

However, what I would have found most helpful as a new mom and couldn’t find anywhere, was a list of the things you DON’T need along with the reasons WHY so I could judge for myself. I remember reading so many debates about wipe warmers but I couldn’t figure out exactly why people felt so strongly one way or the other. So here’s my list of the baby essentials I think you can do without, and the reasons to help you decide, if you or your circumstances disagree with me. Good luck!

  1. Blankets – I can almost guarantee someone is going to give you a blanket, it’s like the favorite baby gift. But I’m surprised to see them on baby essential checklists since you can’t use blankets in the crib until your child can at least sit up easily on their own (some say not until age one or older). A single blanket may be useful to tuck around your child in a stroller or to throw over their car seat as you transport them into your house – but you probably already have a small blanket for that, if needed. Swaddling blankets, btw, are a different story – they usually have a different shape, a slightly stretchy, breathable material, and I do think those are necessary to have on hand. I love Aden + Anais swaddles. Possible Exception: You plan on making your blankets do double duty as burp cloths, portable crib sheets, stroller and car seat liners, tummy time blankets, change table covers, etc., in which case the hand knit blanket from grandma might not work so well. I personally bought those things separately though.
  2. Infant Gowns – the kind with elastic bottoms. I might have been was paranoid, but I felt a lot better having 3 little snaps make sure my baby wasn’t going to wiggle out of those 2 paltry velcro straps holding her diaper on and get poo everywhere. Also, you can only use infant gowns for sleeping – they impede movement when baby is awake – so why not just get onesies that you can use anytime? If you’re looking for warmth, most infant gowns are just light cotton and don’t do much, but Halo makes some great sleepsacks in both lightweight fabrics and warmer fleece to zip around any nighttime outfit (some have built in swaddles too!)
  3. Jumpsuits – (and convertible infant gowns) Adorable, but at least 9 snaps, sometimes more, in the middle of the night. Not enough to convince you? Just wait until your baby wants to start flipping around or kicking on the changing table while you’re sleep-deprived and trying to snap those snaps. Considering that a separate pair of pants with an elastic waist could be slipped on in less than 5 seconds, jumpsuits are just not worth it in my opinion. I also ruled out zippered jumpsuits myself: the zipper only goes down one leg so it always seemed like it was uncomfortable to get the opposite leg in.
  4. Undershirts – Babies do a lot of wiggling around on the floor until they learn to crawl (tummy time is important!). So my experience with undershirts is that they just ride up and have to be constantly pulled down. Save the shirts for when your child is walking and for special occasions (can’t resist a baby in a button down and bow tie). Also, a onesie can be a complete outfit.  An undershirt needs a bottom. Why get 2 things when you only need one? Possible Exception – we used the long sleeve undershirts we were given as light jackets, and for about 4 days before baby’s umbilical cord fell off.
  5. Booties/Crib Shoes – The best thing for babies is bare feet. But tiny toes can need protection, so I’ve found that socks with non-slip grippies on the bottom (most infant socks have it) are the only thing you need for non-walkers. Most crib shoes and booties don’t stay on very well and are really just for decoration. But if you absolutely must have some stylish baby shoes, look for elastic around the opening (easy to get on and more likely to stay on) and fabric-like, soft soles. Even for winter babies in a cold climate, I’d prefer to not let the wind have a chance to sneak up between the shoes and pants and would go for a footed one-piece suit (over socks) instead.
  6. Crib Bumpers – Bumpers should NOT used at all due to the risk of suffocation, strangulation, or entrapment according to guidelines released by the American Academy of Pediatrics (read more here). Unfortunately, most crib bedding sets at big name stores still come with bumpers, like the one pictured here from Walmart (they also come with a pretty useless quilt, see blankets under #1). I really wonder why no one has protested against Babies R Us, Target and the like for selling these yet? Luckily, some companies are stepping up and offering bumper-free crib bedding sets like these adorable ones from Skip Hop.
  7. Baby Bathtub – Holding a slippery, soapy baby while bending over a bathtub is not my idea of a good time. And although there are lots of cool positioners that fit into your sink (like the Blooming Bath), because of the way the faucet sticks out awkwardly right in the center and since it requires extra cups/bowls to collect and pour the water onto the right places – it just seemed like too much work when I was overtired myself. The best solution I found? Take baby in the shower or bath with you (make sure the water isn’t too hot for baby), then dry them off, throw on a diaper, and stick them in a lounger or hand baby to your partner, and finish bathing yourself. Two clean people in the time for one! It worked for this tired mommy. Possible Exception: Baby bathtubs for the sink would probably work great in the kitchen where you possibly have a detachable spray nozzle – but then the sink size might be too big for it to hold baby properly – be sure to check the instructions/warnings.
  8. Bath Towels/Washcloths – Yes, they’re cute, but I know you already have some towels (unless you’re currently of the drip dry persuasion …). And guess what? Your towels work the same, plus they’re very likely bigger which means it’s easier to wrap/dry baby. But what about the attached hoods on baby bath towels? Cute but not necessary in any way, shape or form. Since your towels are so large compared to that tiny baby body, you’ll have more than enough towel to make a faux hood and cover the rest of them at the same time. Possible Exception: These definitely could be a useful persuasion tool for a toddler who is not a fan of bath time (or ending bath time) but that’s about 2 years off.
  9. Bottle Warmer – This one is debated pretty frequently, but I encourage you to do your own test. Heat a bowl of water in the microwave or run hot water to fill your sink a few inches (if it’s a small sink) and stick a bottle of about 4-6 oz of liquid in it (room temp or refrigerated depending on if you’re making formula or warming breast milk). Time how long it takes from the moment you start until the liquid is warm on the back of your hand. Now – look at how long the electronic bottle warmers take from start to finish – it’ll be on the box. From my experience, bottle warmers do not actually save much time, if any. And, once you know how long it takes for your bottle to be the perfect temp, it won’t change until you go up a bottle size. Possible Exception: portable bottle warmers like this one can be a lifesaver when you’re in your car or on the go (trying to beg hot water from a restaurant and then somehow getting a container big enough for your bottle is a nightmare).
  10. Wipe Warmer – Here it is, the big one. I’m putting this on my list of things you don’t need but with a Possible Exception: if you don’t have good temperature control in your house (drafty old building, heat controlled apartment, etc). You can bundle up baby to sleep snugly in a cold room but I definitely felt bad putting icy wipes on her behind on top of forcing her to be half naked for a few minutes while we were in our apartment the week or so before they turned on the heat. Other than that, if your baby’s room is a comfy 68-72 degrees, the wipes will be too, and there’s no need for any type of warmer. (Gross but true – it’s no more shocking to their bottom than the room temp. the pee is at by the time you get to changing them).
  11. Baby Specific Laundry Detergent – Don’t do it! Buy as pure a laundry detergent as you can (dye free and perfume/fragrance free) and use it for everyone’s laundry all the time. If you want to go the extra mile, look for plant and mineral-derived, non-petroleum ingredients – see this link on the Whole Food’s website for a good rating guide. Buying a “baby specific” detergent is a gimmick to exploit your mommy fears and they’re often not as all natural as they claim. Definitely wash clothes before baby wears them though. The chemical finish on new clothes could irritate a baby’s sensitive new skin and (if you want to be extra paranoid) the clothes could have come in contact with dirt and bugs while in shipping and/or germy hands in a retail store.
  12. Bassinet or Cradle – Bassinets need completely separate bedding from your crib, maybe a separate mattress if it doesn’t come with one or you don’t like the existing one, and have a very low weight limit (you’ll probably get 3-4 months use). Now, you may need a safe place just to put the baby during those random I-just-fell-asleep-cause-I’m-a-newborn moments, when you want to slide out from under them as slowly as possible so they stay asleep while you run to get something done for yourself. My daughter would fall asleep in my lap while I was working on my computer or sitting on the couch, and since I could not leave her unattended on either of those surfaces, I needed another solution. But instead of a bassinet, I suggest a bouncer or something else you will probably buy anyway (lots of bouncers recline to a laying position as well as a more upright one for when they’re older, and they all have buckles to make sure baby is secure). Possible Exception: If you have extra money and have a separate room for the crib but want to keep baby in your room for late night feedings for the first few months (which is recommended).
  13. Travel crib/Play yard/Pack N Play – Not necessary with the Possible Exceptions that you are either traveling somewhere, or you need to keep baby from being attacked (with affection) by pets or other kids in the house, and/or if you are using the Play yard (which features a detachable bassinet top) for the reasons above.
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